Grand Inga was proposed in the 1980s but never got beyond feasibility studies because of political turmoil in central Africa. But now it stands a chance, according to Gerald Doucet, secretary general of the World Energy Council thinktank, which is convening the London meeting.
"It is the greatest sustainable development project, offering Africa a unique chance for interdependence and prosperity," said Doucet. "It's much more feasible now than ever. There is a peace settlement in Congo, and economic and technical studies have all shown it is possible."
Some advocacy groups fear that even if an incredible amount of power is generated, it won’t benefit most citizens of Africa. Terry Hathaway of the organization International Rivers fears corruption in such a large project.
Hathaway said that the 94% of people in Congo DRC and the two in three Africans who have no electricity now were unlikely to benefit because the dam depends on exporting its electricity to existing centres of industry, especially in South Africa where there have been power shortages.
"As it stands, the project's electricity won't reach even a fraction of the continent's 500 million people not yet connected to the grid. Building a distribution network that would actually light up Africa would increase the project's cost exponentially. It would be very different if rural energy received the kind of commitment and attention now being lavished on Inga," she said.
The proposed cost of the Grand Inga is estimated at $80 billion. Link -via Digg